By Priscilla Martin
In this difficult examine Priscilla Martin investigates the topics of girls, intercourse and gender in Chaucer's poetry. She argues convincingly that those are Chaucer's significant topics and that he provides them as a space of human adventure fraught with difficulties. ladies, rather than generating texts and meanings themselves, are trapped within the books and meanings of others, and so the Madonna and the courtly heroine, the nun and the spouse, are typical yet questionable pictures of built femininity. '...an clever, delicate, clean and shut analyzing which focuses upon Chaucer's ladies ... unconventional and refined' - John J.McGavin, instances greater schooling Supplement
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Additional info for Chaucer’s Women: Nuns, Wives and Amazons
Spek thou , for I ne dar not him ysee . Redresse me, mooder, and me cha stise , Fo r certeynly my Faderes ch astisinge, That dar I nouht abid en in no wi se, So hidous is hi s rightful rekenynge . 52- 3, 129- 32 Mary is th e mother goddess towhom ' al this world Aeeth for socour' (2), comfort a nd pro tection . She is 'C rystes blisful mooder dee re' (28), the mater dolorosa who stood 'und er the eros' (82) in indescrib able g ri ef, and, paradoxically, the 'Gloriou s mayde and mooder' (49) of the Virgin Birth.
The poem is virtually an apotheosis of the Madonna . It is a symptom of the s teady exaltation of the mother of Christ, a movement leading from the very minor character in the Gospels to the doctrine o f the Immaculate Concepti on , her asce nt - as thi s poem puts il - from ' ancille' to 'mai stressc I Of hevene and erthc' (109- 10),3 In the New Testament Chri st is the alpha and omega, the firs t and last le tters of the G reek alphabet; here, analogously, Mary is the A to Z for the medieval Christian.
C hurc hes and ca thedra ls were in creasingly dedicated to her. During Chau cer's lifetime the Marian fea sts of the Prese ntati on and Visitation were establi sh ed in western Europe. The Madonna was a constan t fi gure in C haucer's spirit ual land sca pe, embodied in statues and stained glass, poems, plays and processio ns. Worship o f the Vi rgin was part o f the common Christian experience. It was expressed in countless hymns and prayers, a cho rus of adoration in which we hear the voices o f so me of C hau ce r's pilgrims and narrators.